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Programming & real lifeby nothingmuch (Priest)
|on Dec 30, 2003 at 01:07 UTC||Need Help??|
A year or two ago, when I was moaping about being stuck and angry at high school mathematics, especially geometry, my dad (being a mathematician) and I had a discussion (during one of our makeup classes (My teacher and I couldn't cope with each other, so we decided to part ways (turned out that me & dad didn't get along that well either))), in which he mentioned that geometry really hadn't much to do with mathematics in terms of what the board of education (here at least), attempts to achieve by teaching it.
The rationale, he said, behind it is that people need to know how to use an abstract set of axioms to solve complicated problems by gradually building upon them. The technique is, when generalized, a way of using understanding and experience simultaneously.
He went further, perhaps to sooth my frustrations, and noted that the means of teaching it, the geometry we all know, is somewhat counter productive. The reason for this is that it is, in his opinion, too near to reality to be truely generalized. If we hadn't learnt plannar (is that correct?) geometry, but instead applied a different set of rules to a different symbolic universe, somewhat less similar to ours (like a two dimensional one that is actually shaped like a donut, for example), perhaps the tools we have acquired would have been more easily used against other aspects of life, having nothing to do with maths at all.
The thought occurred to me that despite it's even tighter relationship to reality (especially when oriented towards objects), programming provided me with immensely useful tools of abstraction, perception and attitude towards many practical problems.
I think the reason for this is that to program "correctly" you need not think like you do intuitively (unless you've been programming for too long... ;-), but instead pretend you're solving a problem while you are blind, deaf, and illiterate, in a way, due to the (current) simplicity of all aspects of computation, as high a level as they may very well be, in comparison with the human way of thought.
Basically... Do you guys think that programming has as much, or perhaps even more to give to mind in need of general education, not specific knowledge, than something like geometry?
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